Jim Gehrig was carefully taking the tire off the pink-rimmed wheel of kid’s bike inside the La Crescent Bike Shoppe last week when he paused for a second or two to answer a question.
“It always feels good to help someone in need,” he said quietly. Then, a smile spread across his face before he added, “And I just love working on bikes.”
Gehrig has married his love of working on bikes and his desire to help others at the Bike Shoppe, where he volunteers and has restored countless bicycles.
But the kid’s bike he was working on last week was just a little bit special. The bike belonged to a child staying at New Horizons in La Crosse, which offers a safe space to victims of domestic abuse.
Last week, volunteers from the Bike Shoppe took a trip to the shelter and filled the back of a truck with bikes belonging to kids there, many of which were in disrepair. The volunteers took the bikes back to the Bike Shoppe, which is located inside the La Crescent Community Arena.
There, Gehrig and others worked their magic to make sure the kids would get a safe, smooth pair of wheels to ride on by that evening.
One of the other volunteers was Houston County Attorney Sam Jandt who noted that the Bike Shoppe also sometimes donates bikes to New Horizons to replace any that are in a condition that’s beyond repair. Jandt also said the shoppe donates bike helmets to the children.
“It’s something that has an immediate impact in the community,” said Jandt.
The bike shoppe accepts donations of bikes that it repair and refurbish to sell, or uses for parts. The volunteers also will tune-up your bicycle.
The Bike Shoppe is open from May to August, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 to noon at the La Crescent Community Arena under the green awning (520 S. 14th St. La Crescent). For more information, call (608) 790-2580.